Hermès Asks Court to Dismiss California Antitrust Case

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No legal claim here, says Hermès in its response to the California antitrust lawsuit. The first line of Hermès Motion to Dismiss the Complaint reads: “Plaintiffs fundamentally misunderstand the antitrust laws.” While Hermès denies that it requires customers to purchase other Hermès products before purchasing a Birkin or Kelly, it further argues that even if it did, that would not violate federal or state antitrust law. As it says in its Motion to Dismiss:

 “The antitrust laws do not punish companies for creating better, more desirable products than anyone else.”

Hermès argues that Plaintiffs fail to allege the requisite proper tied product market, tied product, and market power. For purposes of a motion to dismiss, Plaintiffs’ factual allegations are assumed to be true. 

Simplified here, Hermès says  there is no claim of harm to the competitive process nor allegations that “Hermès has excluded other sellers of the supposedly tied products.” Hermès posits that all of Hermès’ business lines – homeware, jewelry, shoes, ready-to-wear, perfume, furniture – cannot be lumped into a single “product market” called Ancillary Product. There are other sellers of these multiple products: “This market definition does not appear to reach beyond Hermès—even though Hermès faces clear competition from different sellers on the wide range of products it sells.” In other words, Hermès does not wield market power. 

A date is set for July 11.

Read Hermès motion here

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